In a study of healthy volunteers, drinking 200 ml of grapefruit juice at the same time as taking acebutolol caused a small decrease in blood levels of the drug by interfering with its absorption.1 Although the researchers who performed this study felt that the effect was unlikely to be clinically significant in most cases, it would seem prudent not to take grapefruit juice at the same time as acebutolol.
As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as beta-blockers.2
Some beta-adrenergic blockers (called “nonselective” beta blockers) decrease the uptake of potassium from the blood into the cells,3 leading to excess potassium in the blood, a potentially dangerous condition known as hyperkalemia.4 People taking beta-blockers should therefore avoid taking potassium supplements, or eating large quantities of fruit (for example, bananas), unless directed to do so by their doctor.
1. Lilja JJ, Raaska K, Neuvonen PJ. Effects of grapefruit juice on the pharmacokinetics of acebutolol. Br J Clin Pharmacol2005;60:659–63.
2. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213–4.
3. Rosa RM, Silva P, Young JB, et al. Adrenergic modulation of extrarenal potassium disposal. N Engl J Med 1980;302:431–4.
4. Lundborg P. The effect of adrenergic blockade on potassium concentrations in different conditions. Acta Med Scand Suppl 1983;672:121–6 [review].
Last Review: 11-07-2012
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